December 18, 2021
As we approach Christmas this year, I have been knitting away, hurrying to complete a few presents. I enjoy knitting. There are the repetitive, familiar movements that lend a meditative quality to the work. There are the tactile sensations of the cool, hard needles and the soft, flexible yarn slipping through my fingers. As I knit, I think of and pray for the person that will receive what I am fabricating, hoping that they will like what I have made. But what I like most is taking a simple ball of yarn and creating something beautiful and useful; something that will provide warmth; something that expresses my love and care. I am always amazed that something so simple as a string can become an article of clothing through a magical combination of just two types of stitches. It’s not quite creating something out of nothing, but it certainly feels like it.
This Advent, I have been reflecting on the nature of God and ourselves as I knit away. One of the core aspects of God is the divine creative nature. The first thing we read in our scriptures is God creating out of nothing. It is the first thing we learn about God: God is the one who creates. We witness the holy creative impulse at work throughout our story: the cosmic creation, the creation of a chosen people, the creation of a nation, the creation of a path to salvation open to all, and the creation of the divine in human flesh in the person of Jesus. In this season, I have also been pondering the ongoing and future creation as we have focused on the world to come.
I think part of the reason I glean so much joy from knitting is because through this act I am exercising the sacred creative impulse within me. As creatures created in the image of the Creator, we all carry the characteristics of God and while we may pay close attention to the virtues of love, compassion, honesty, and self-giving, rarely do we consider that the impulse to create originates in and is an expression of the divine. Through the practice of creation we imitate the Holy One and can deepen our relationship with God.
Now, I am not suggesting that everyone should immediately take up knitting. Rather, the practices we already engage in and find joy in can be spiritual practices and expressions of our relationship with God if we truly understand them. When we take seeds, plant them in the ground, tend them, and care for the resulting plants, we are exercising the divine creative impulse. When we take flour, sugar, butter, leavener, and flavorings and transform them into cookies that delight, we are exercising the divine creative impulse. When we take a hammer, nails, sandpaper, and wood and combine them to make a bed for a child who does not have one, we are exercising the divine creative impulse.
As we enter the last few days before Christmas, I invite you to consider how God is present in your actions through this divine creative nature. I imagine that if we can open our hearts’ eyes just a little wider, we will see more clearly God’s presence in the everydayness of our lives.